PUEBLO, Colo. — A skunk near Ash Street has tested positive for rabies, according to the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment on Thursday.
The rabid skunk is believed to have come in contact with pets in the surrounding neighborhood.
Public health officials are using the incident to remind the public to vaccinate pets and stay clear of wild animals.
“It is important to vaccinate your pets to protect them from rabies, as it has been found in wild skunks, bats, and other animals throughout Pueblo County,” stated Vicki Carlton, program manager at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. Carlton added, “Wild animals, including skunks, are to be left alone and not touched.”
Rabies is caused by a virus transmitted by the bite of an infected animal, through the animal’s saliva, into a cut or break in the skin.
“People can be exposed to rabies when they assist, feed, handle or come in contact with wild animals,” Carlton further explained
Pet and livestock owners are highly encouraged to vaccinate animals against rabies through a licensed veterinarian. Without the vaccination, dogs and cats exposed to rabies have an extremely high chance of getting infected and dying from the disease and there’s the added risk of those animals bringing rabies into their homes.
To avoid exposure to rabies:
- Never touch a skunk or any other wild animal. Healthy skunks and raccoons typically come out in the evening. If the animals are out in the day, they may be sick. Children who find wild animals should leave them where they are, do not touch the wild animal and tell an adult.
- If you are bitten by a stray, wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water then contact your physician and the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.
- Make sure your pets are vaccinated against rabies.
For additional information about animals go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s web site at cdc.gov/rabies or call the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment at 719-583-4307.